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Sun, 21 April 2024

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British Veterinary Association responds to Competition and Markets Authority’s review of the veterinary sector

British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

Following an initial review of the veterinary services market for pets, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has outlined its main concerns and its provisional decision to launch a formal ‘market investigation’.

The CMA outlined the following concerns:

  • Consumers may not be given enough information to enable them to choose the best veterinary practice or the right treatment for their needs.
  • Concentrated local markets, in part driven by sector consolidation, may be leading to weak competition in some areas.
  • Large corporate groups may have incentives to act in ways which reduce choice and weaken competition.
  • Pet owners might be overpaying for medicines or prescriptions.
  • The regulatory framework is outdated and may no longer be fit for purpose.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which represents more than 19,000 vets across the UK, responds to the CMA’s concerns:

British Veterinary Association President Dr. Anna Judson, said:

“The veterinary sector has changed significantly over recent years and the Competition and Markets Authority’s proposed investigation provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on how both veterinary teams and practices can continue to provide clients with the best possible service.

“Rising prices are a concern for everyone but it’s vital to recognise there is no NHS for pets. Whether they are employed by corporate or independently owned practices, vets deliver highly specialised, tailored care for the UK’s pets and the cost is a fair reflection of investment in medical equipment, supplies and medicines, and the time vet teams dedicate to the care of each patient. At the British Veterinary Association, we’re keen to see healthy competition and consumer choice and so we are already taking steps to support vet practices to be more transparent both in terms of costs and practice ownership. It’s important that clients have as wide a choice of vet practices as possible so they can find a service that best suits the needs of themselves and their animals.

“We’re pleased to see the CMA acknowledging the need for reform of the outdated Veterinary Surgeons Act and for regulation of vet practices, something we have been calling for. As the legislation stands, it’s not fit for purpose and is failing both vet teams and clients.

“It’s really important not to pre-empt the outcome of the CMA’s investigation. When the CMA launched its initial review, vet teams in practice found themselves on the end of really unpleasant, often abusive behaviour, which is unacceptable. It’s important to remember that vets enter this high-pressure profession out of genuine care for animals and will always prioritise their health and welfare.”

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